Gifted students aversion to writing

Discussion in 'General Education' started by Pashtun, Aug 4, 2014.

  1. Pashtun

    Pashtun Fanatic

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    Does anyone see this over the years? I have noticed more and more over the last several years that many "GATE" students have a strong aversion to writing. They really seem to avoid it at all costs and even have test results that support accommodations limiting their having to write. this includes showing work in math as well.

    Anyone else notice this trend?
    Have any thoughts regarding it?
    Have any strategies to help the student engage in writing?
     
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  3. Peregrin5

    Peregrin5 Maven

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    I think there is an aversion to writing across the board. Not just in gifted students.

    My take: writing simply isn't fun. I hated it when I was elementary and older, and I'm still not too keen on it now. The only way I learned how to write well was through creative writing and roleplaying in online forums where the other players were grammatically strict "grammar nazis".
     
  4. czacza

    czacza Multitudinous

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    What s your philosophy of teaching writing? How do you teach it? What are your students' histories with writing instruction?
     
  5. Pashtun

    Pashtun Fanatic

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    First it is across grade levels and subjects. It is not an aversion to writing narratives, it is a general aversion to writing to show thinking in math, writing narratives, writing complete answers to short answer questions, taking notes..etc.

    Again, I am noticing this specifically in GATE students, almost to the point of defiance when it comes to writing and/or showing thinking.

    I teach writing through literature using the 6+ traits.
     
  6. czacza

    czacza Multitudinous

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    Hold them accountable, use rubrics for quality of writing.
     
  7. gr3teacher

    gr3teacher Phenom

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    To make a long story short... gifted kiddos can't physically move their pencils as fast as their mind works, and that makes writing a frustrating process. I find with my kiddos that they often do well if they can "talk it out" before writing, and if they thoroughly plotted out their writing first.

    At the other end of the spectrum, a lot of gifted kids don't want to put pencil to paper unless they are sure what they have will be good. For those kids, they need extra brainstorming time. Sometimes a more structured assignment helps too. Sometimes with my students, they get over their writer's block if I give them the first sentence in a possible writing piece. By the time they turn it in, they've almost always either taken that first sentence out, or completely remade it in their own words.

    So with both groups, it comes down to pre-writing, but the pre-writing strategies may be different with each.
     
  8. gr3teacher

    gr3teacher Phenom

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    As far as showing their thinking goes, you're dealing with a population that really don't understand their own thinking. They don't know how they got the answer to a math problem. They just know that they read it and the answer was clearly 37 1/2. In that case, it might sound counter-productive, but it can help to just give them the answer up front. They also benefit from being told a wrong answer, and being asked to work through what the misconception is. GT kids, especially boys, can occasionally tend towards the lazy side if they don't think something is truly "at their level," so just tell them you flat out won't accept their work until it's up to the standards you are expecting.
     
  9. WindyCityGal606

    WindyCityGal606 Enthusiast

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    You really make a good point here! I also have run across this many times over with my top students. Although we might assume they will be confident writers, the opposite can be true because writing itself can be such an abstract task. Having "no right answer" can really be frightening for a child who is used to always being correct. I agree that writing assignments need to be very structured for some of them. Allow plenty of opportunities for students to share their writing without a grade getting attached. Once they start to see that everyone's writing is unique, they may feel more comfortable about breaking free and allowing themselves to write. I also have seen this struggle with top students and discussion time. they are great at giving an answer to a literal-type question but inferencing and making connections can be brutal for them.
     
  10. Pashtun

    Pashtun Fanatic

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    Can you go into more detail with regards to how or what this may look like.

    This is probably my Achilles heal in teaching right now.
     
  11. Pashtun

    Pashtun Fanatic

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    I love this idea, it in no way sounds counter productive to me.
     
  12. gr3teacher

    gr3teacher Phenom

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    For me, it's simple. I take a quick glance at their work when they turn it in, and it's not up to the standards I have for them, I hand it back and tell them to try again. If it comes back to me a second time not where it's supposed to be, it goes in the recycling bin and they can start from scratch.

    I tell my kids at the beginning of the year that I'll recycle it if they turn it in to me twice without it being acceptable, and make it clear that it is a specific consequence. Usually, one time implementing that specific consequence is enough to get the message across to the whole class.
     
  13. Pashtun

    Pashtun Fanatic

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    Thank You.
     
  14. gr3teacher

    gr3teacher Phenom

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    The toughest part is being sure that it actually is less than their best effort though... I'd never do that the first time a concept was being introduced (or rather... I'd hand it back to them, and then pull them to the back for a quick conference)
     
  15. RedStripey

    RedStripey Comrade

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    Sorry I'm no help but I have this problem with one of the kids I tutor. He's academically gifted but he hates writing. I definitely noticed that he can't write as fast as his mind works, as a previous commenter stated. I know he can do it, but he has such an aversion to writing. I give him a lot of freedom concerning topics and I make the activities fun but he's still defiant. I wanted to tear my hair out while working with him tonight, but I will try some of the stuff suggested in this thread..hopefully it will make my life easier. ;)
     
  16. Rockguykev

    Rockguykev Connoisseur

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    Is typing an option for these kids?
     
  17. Pashtun

    Pashtun Fanatic

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    Typing is an option, but I have not seen it be very successful yet.
     
  18. gr3teacher

    gr3teacher Phenom

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    Usually at the mid-elementary level, typing is going to be even more frustrating than writing for gifted kiddos, since it exacerbates the perfectionists, it's too slow for the fast thinkers, and the gifted girls get distracted by all the font and color options.
     
  19. vickilyn

    vickilyn Multitudinous

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    It is for some of them, but the youngest of them don't type yet, or the tech just isn't available in the school. As they get older, if the school is tech friendly and maybe even BYOD, the students may get better, but in all honestly, I think this is bigger that GATE. I believe, but can't prove, that boys hate to write, as a group, more than girls, that it is about lacking the skills to plan and execute reasonable steps that would bring them success, and, not mentioned to date, is the fact that many of them lack the attention span to develop these skills. There is research that overstimulation of the brain can create or contribute to ADD, ADHD, and some of the problems we are seeing across the board. These are kids who believe they can watch tv, listen to music, be on the phone, playing a video game, and doing their homework all at the same time. They can go through the motions, but their proficiency in any of these things is much less than they believe about themselves. They expect immediate gratification, don't know how to think through a problem when it is the only thing on their plate, and they loose interest if things aren't moving fast enough, when in truth, they have some sizable gaps in their reasoning. I LOVE tech, but totally wired kids is not a good thing. It does make changes to the brain, but not in the positive way many people assume. :2cents:
     
  20. Pashtun

    Pashtun Fanatic

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    /bump for more ideas
     
  21. fjaravata

    fjaravata Rookie

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    How about having the students dictate their thoughts to a recording device/software/app? If using a voice-to-text app like Dragon Dictation, they can see/read what they said and make edits. We use this with students who have a very hard time writing who aren't gifted.
     
  22. vickilyn

    vickilyn Multitudinous

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    There are students who have legitimate needs for help and concessions, and there are students who simply don't want to invest their time in the project. Sometimes it is immaturity, sometimes they are lazy, sometimes they have an attitude that they should only have to do what they want to do, not what is required. Sorting it out isn't always easy, but needs to be done to provide the best plan to truly help the child mature and grow. Sometimes no one has ever refused to let them off just because they will tell you how smart they are, and that they only need to do what is interesting. I have a student who can barely use a pencil OR type, his motor control is so poor, but he can talk me through the writing assignment. That is a kid who will benefit from a tape recorder or voice-to-text app like Dragon. I believe it is crucial to truly discover why the writing is delayed, but not assume that it is a function strictly of how fast their brain works. It may be for some, a cop out for others.
     
    Backroads likes this.
  23. Si-tripio

    Si-tripio Guest

    Mar 22, 2016

    I think that now a lot of students don't want to think a lot, the writing process involves skills in language, organization, motor control and planning, and sensory processing: four areas that are problematic for many individuals with ASD. Much easier to ask someone, like essaywritingon. com , for help. And they think if there is more than one right answer, how am I supposed to figure out what the right answer is? Writing is tough for many students to wrap their heads around. Every other skill they learn has a right answer and a right way to do it. Many approach writing emotionally not understanding that a concrete or right way exists.
     
  24. 2ndTimeAround

    2ndTimeAround Phenom

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    I've seen it too. At the high school level such students have had YEARS of being told they were the best. And then things get real. They need to have the skill of writing before they come to high school. Students that have accommodations that get them out of it, ending up having serious problems when they get into AP courses where essays reign.

    I've had a couple of students with accommodations that say they don't have to show their work. I conference with their parents and tell them flat out that yes, their child is bright, but he isn't the brightest at the school, nor the brightest I've taught. He will make mistakes. And when it comes to higher science courses, he will lose ALL points if he makes a mistake without showing his work.

    For my students I have suggested bubble maps and other graphic organizers to empty their brains and then work on writing an essay from that.
     
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  25. readingrules12

    readingrules12 Aficionado

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    Not sure why gifted students have the aversion to writing, but it could be that many are use to a huge amount of success in multiple choice world and writing isn't like that at all. Writing is messy and loaded with mistakes in 4th grade. I am sure they are aware that they don't know how to spell certain words or know how to punctuate everything. Also, writing never sounds exactly how you want it to sound.

    What to do? I don't have the perfect answer, but I can share a few things that have helped my students who start with "writing-phobia". I find that what students can't/won't do by themselves, they will often do in partners. I let them be in partners and allow one student to say aloud to the other student what they want to write. The student writes down exactly what the student says. Yes, this takes some time. Then they switch roles. This way both get to speak and both get to write. This tends to work well and they enjoy it.

    The other thing I try is I come up with incredibly addictive topics at the beginning of the year for them to write. When I taught fourth graders, I had them write for 12 minutes using their imaginations on describing how gross cafeteria food can be. I couldn't get most to stop after 12 minutes. You might not want to do that one right before lunch.
     
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